Support for making online materials accessible

Colleagues working on teaching materials will have access to a new tool to help understand the accessibility of files in Minerva from 8 June 2020.

The tool – Blackboard Ally – is within Minerva and it will also allow students to access materials in different forms, such as converting word files to an audio file.

The tool will show staff the accessibility rating for files in Minerva, provide feedback on any issues identified and offer guidance on how to fix them and it’s hoped this tool will help colleagues as they prepare materials for September 2020 onwards. 

Accessibility legislation and the impact on Leeds

Accessibility is a requirement under public sector website legislation which will cover teaching materials in Minerva from September 2020 as well as the University’s websites. Leeds is committed to providing an inclusive environment and ensuring digital accessibility for all including people with disabilities. The increased dependence use of digital education systems for learning and teaching makes it ever more important that we continue to improve accessibility for students.

Guidance and training

Information about how to use Blackboard Ally is available on the Minerva staff A-Z guide webpages

Training on Ally will form part of future staff development sessions, see future dates and book a place on ‘Making Minerva accessible’

It’s recognised that the accessibility challenges presented by learning materials vary between subjects, for example formulae and complex diagrams. Guidance on this area is under development. School Academic Leads for Inclusive Practice may be able to advise in the first instance, find your school contact

Broader training on adapting your course for online learning is now available through Minerva

Creating and maintaining accessible materials

Using supported tools and recommended software wherever possible will help maintain accessible teaching materials and websites. The University’s major websites and applications have been tested for accessibility and we are working with existing suppliers and IT to ensure improvements.

Find out more about the University’s supported systems for learning and teaching

Read more about the University’s approach to improving accessibility

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